Book Review: Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors

Written by Jessie Laven; copy edited by Rebecca A. Coates

Review of “Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors ” by Bill Bryson (Doubleday Canada, 2008; Anchor Canada, 2009).

Image of the cover for Bill Bryson's book "Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors," which features one tall green book and a shorter blue book.

Bill Bryson is well known for his books on travel, science, history, and the English language. And this particular book of his, Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors, is an eclectic mix, reflecting the varied experiences of Bryson’s long and distinguished writing career. It’s different from his usual writings, and perhaps more dry, but no less valuable or insightful.

Before turning to writing, Bryson worked as an editor for several newspapers, including the Independent and the Times.  During this time, his manuscript began as a collection of notes that were assembled piece by piece over the years as he encountered questions or uncertainties. The resulting book is a useful guide for new writers and editors, answering questions they likely wouldn’t think to ask. It is driven by a desire to enlighten the reader and help them avoid common pitfalls.

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Meet the Instructor: Lisa Manfield

Written by Carl Rosenberg; copy edited by Rebecca A. Coates

This photo shows a headshot of Lisa Manfield smiling with a lake backdrop.On Saturday, September 30, Editors BC presents Lisa Manfield’s seminar on the principles and practice of search engine optimization—SEO.

SEO encompasses a variety of tactics to improve a website’s ranking in search results—one of the best ways to attract potential customers to a website. This six-hour workshop, consisting of both individual and group activity, will provide an overview of SEO fundamentals, including strategies to improve search engine rankings, effective use of keywords, and the role of online marketing in boosting visibility. The workshop will help web editors with both their own websites and client web-based projects.

Lisa is a writer, editor, and content strategist. She has developed print and web content for tech companies, small businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions. She has also been the editor of BCLiving and marketing manager at The Tyee. She has taught Writing and Editing for the Web at SFU for several years and presented a seminar based on that course for Editors BC in September 2015. (Lynn Slobogian interviewed her for West Coast Editor at that time.)

Carl Rosenberg, a volunteer on Editors BC’s communications and social media committee, spoke to Lisa about her advice on SEO.

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Event Review: The Secrets of Syntax by Frances Peck

Written by Eva van Emden; copy edited by Rebecca A. Coates

On April 22, a roomful of editors got together to talk about syntax—the order of words in a sentence. This may seem like an obscure topic to spend a day thinking about, but consider how many memorable sayings stick in your mind because of a magic combination of word order, rhythm, and repetition. Would we be able to quote the sentence “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” if it didn’t use rhythm and repetition—syntactic elements—so effectively?

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